Doha: Hosts Qatar will look for their first win at the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup when they take on Yemen on Friday in Group A. The match will kick off at 9 pm (Oman time) at Khalifa International Stadium. In an earlier match of the same group, Iraq and UAE, both winners of the previous round, will engage in a tight clash. The match will start at 6:30 pm (Oman time) at the same venue.
UAE are topping Group A with three points and a better goal average than Iraq who also have three points in their kitty.
UAE, runners-up in the last edition, blanked Yemen 3-0, while Iraq stunned Asian champions Qatar 2-1 in the first matches.
The matches will make the picture clear about the semifinal contingents from the group.
UAE coach upbeat
Van Marwijk, head coach of UAE team, said that the team will aim for another win against Iraq. “Actually there is no proper preparation for the match. We are used to play continuous games with three days rest atleast. However, this is the existing situation and all the teams have to adapt to it,” the Dutchman said.
“I had played against Iraq when I was the head coach of Saudi Arabia. They are a strong team with quality players. As a coach, I prefer to play an attacking style. However, sometimes it is required to play in the defensive way,” Van Marwijk added.
Mohammed Marzooq, UAE player, sounded confident of playing well against Iraq. “All the players want to win the game and qualify for the semifinals. The match definitely will not be an easy game. Iraq is one of the well developed teams in the region,” Marzooq added.
IRAQ READY FOR CHALLENGE
Iraq coach Srecko Katanec said the focus is now on UAE match after the stunning win against Qatar.
“It will be another difficult match and the players are aware of that,” the Slovenian said.
“Thursday’s training will define the starting list for UAE match,” he added.
Katanec also hoped Qatar’s Iraqi-born defender Bassam al Rawi, who was injured during the Iraq match and out of the tournament, to be back soon after recovery.
Bassam suffered a broken leg, the Qatar Football Association had said.
“The Gulf Cup tournament is a good occasion to evaluate and know the individual condition of the players. I am confident of the team to deliver more in the upcoming matches,” Katanec said.
Ahmed Ibrahim, Iraq player, confirmed team’s readiness for the match as he said there no injures and all players in good shape to play the crucial match.
Iraq team had a domestic’s camp in Qatar prior to the tournament with 11 players only. Ibrahim said: “Seven players joined later with the team.”
The Slovenian coach confirmed he will not be happy until reaching the target. “ The target is something confidential between me and the players. I need twenty players who live the energy of winning,” he concluded.
Qatar EYE FULL POINTS
Felix Sanchez, Spanish coach of Qatar, mentioned that during the short period for the next match the team did the proper recovery preparation and he will decide on the perfect squad for the match.
“We are in best mood and good level to do better in Yemen match. Our clear target is to win the three points and to have a full motivation to win,” Sanchez added.
Commenting on Bassam’s absence due to the injury, he said: “We will miss him inside and outside the field. Our wish to the player to have a recovery soon. The competitions are going on and we will decide for alternative on Thursday,” he added.
Oatar coach confirmed that the team performance is not dropping. “We played strong competitions in Copa America. The next level is getting more difficult. Step by step we will be in the right and best terms. I am fully confident and we are committed to play an excellent game,” Sanchez added.
Qatari star Akram Afif voiced confidence that the hosts will have a better show against Yemen. “We will play in a such tactic as per the coach instruction. The main goal is to grab the winning points,” Afif added.
YEMEN SEEK First win
Meanwhile, Yemen are seeking their first victory in the Gulf cup. Yemen coach Sami al Naasha said the team has two matches more and chances are available to register the first win. Qatar match will be difficult and we will show best performance than the previous game,” he said.
Yemen player Abdul Wasee said the players had forgotten the opening loss and looking to make the Yemeni citizens happy through registering the first win in Gulf Cup tournament.